After being diagnosed with Depression, my first instinct was to hit the Internet. I am a savvy Internet user to a certain extent, and I’m fully aware that not everything you read on the Internet can be taken as the whole truth, but despite this, I still found Internet research a very upsetting process.

There are many large communities out there which I found in my travels, but however supportive these sites may appear to be, there never seems to be a positive spin on things. Very rarely did I find a post or an article which said ‘the road to healing may be tough, but you will get there,’ or ‘the medication will work when you find the right one for you,’ or ‘being diagnosed with Depression wasn’t the horrific end of my life’. I know I may well be unique in my outlook, but I am pretty sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t see a Depressive state of mind as being the end of the world… And to be honest, if we are to tackle this disorder at all, this outlook needs to be embraced wholeheartedly.

For me, the realisation of why I am like I am was almost a relief… I fought it for a number of months (maybe i’ve been in denial for years?), but I now come to accept that my reactions, physically and mentally, are all related to my illness, and for that reason, I can now think forward and deal with them. It’s not easy but it CAN be done. There is hope, and I have always erred towards optimism – strange for a Depressive? I’ve been told so, but surely I’m living proof that this isn’t always the case? I’ve realised that this was my way of coping when I was down – distracting myself with ‘it could always be worse’.

Browsing Internet communities for me was a very scary process, in fact, I got so obsessed before my second round of medication, that I almost didn’t take it. There was nothing but doom and gloom stories about the hideous side effects and that I’d get liver failure, it’d ruin my life etc etc, and in my particular low of the time, I could not SEE the good side… Thankfully, I have some wonderful friends, and a particular Mental Illness sufferer I have debated many things with said the immortal words ‘it’s just a pill’. And he was right. If it really wasn’t for me I could easily stop taking it – I couldn’t be any worse off than I already was. But when you are low, and you cannot make contact with people, and the Internet is your only source of connection with the ‘real’ world… Where are the truly positive resources to help… Everyone’s experiences are valid, I am not saying that, but surely balanced experiences should be presented, not ‘there is no hope, so don’t even try’.

So – I appeal to the Internet communities – shouldn’t there be more awareness of the illness and more positive support out there? I for one, do not want to be incapacitated, out of work, defeated by my illness… I want to feel worth something, happy in my life, a valuable part of society – not marginalised and ridiculed. Yes I may need more care and attention than so called ‘normal’ people but with this additional care, the ‘eager to please’ child comes out and I produce a lot more work and be more focussed and passionate about my work. Surely that is worth the extra effort?